Ooh, Sue Henry knows how to write a sociopath. Sadly, once I'd had that realization after a couple of the character's scenes, it sort of gave a lot of things away. Even the "twist".
I was surprised that Alex Jensen was out of the picture, not having read the last book. I did read book 4, and his name was plastered on the cover. It surprised me that the series continued without him or his name.
I loved Jessie in this book. Her and her dogs. I know next to nothing about mushing, so it was a real treat to read the easy descriptions and information about it. The regular characters were a little harder to keep separate in my head.
The new characters, they stood out vividly. The husband, the wife, the arson investigator, and his replacement all jumped to the fore.
The plot felt very tight and interwoven. "Beneath the ashes" ended up applying to more things than I usually see tied into a title. Some involved real fire, and others were emotional or psychological. It was a real treat to see all the ways Henry worked that theme into the story.
The writing nearly killed me. A glorious cornucopia of typos, punctuation errors and homonym abuse (my pleasure at seeing "illusive" quickly faded when I realized they meant "elusive") filled this book. I didn't think it was possible for anyone to confuse "retched" with "wretched", though, since they're not even homonyms. But the editors of this book have managed to surprise me with their interesting skill set. It's almost turned into a game, reading this series and looking for which wacky mistakes will crop up next. But the stories are entertaining, so I'll keep reading.
4 of 5 stars.